Friday, April 20, 2012

Fermentorium full of blondes

There's been a lot going on in the brewery (kitchen) the last few weeks.

The session blonde ale has turned out quite well. It's really turned the corner in the past couple days and is tasting a lot less "green." I was bit worried about the color at first, having added a tremendous amount (a full pound) of Briess Special Roast, but the color has lightened and the initially intense flavor of the Special Roast has softened. I do believe that about two weeks of lagering at about 60 degrees (not really lagering, but almost) helped this particular beer.

Since brewing the blonde, I've also brewed a stronger blonde that I initially intended to ferment with Wyeast 3942, but I ended up pitching some EC-1112 Champage yeast after about 24 hours with no visible fermentation activity in the airlock and no krausen. I didn't use a starter for this batch (which had a starting gravity of 1.060) so I probably should've just been more patient. The Champagne yeast took off like a rocket, but when I tasted this beer before racking it to the secondary it seemed to be lacking the esters I wanted from the Wyeast. No doubt the Champagne yeast took over. My solution to this lack of complexity was to add the dregs of one bottle of 2007 Boon Mariage Parfait. About a week later I added more dregs, this time from a bottle of New Glarus Imperial Saison from a couple years ago. Now I have very full carboy (it was full to begin with) and a little bit of krausen on top. I plan to let this batch of beer sit for awhile, maybe the whole summer, who knows? I have no idea how this experiment is going to turn out.

The newest batch of brew I have going is a little Franco-Japanese saison-style beer brewed with pilsner malt extract, Sorachi Ace hops and Wyeast 3711 (French Saison.) It's also substantially lighter in gravity than the strong blonde, checking in at 1.048, just a touch stronger than the session blonde. This most recent brew has been quite active this week. I pitched the yeast on the 15th and the airlock is still bubbling every so often. The temperture has been in the high 70s in the fermentorium, so I reckon that this latest beer might turn out to be very well attenuated and quite dry, which would be quite alright with me.